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London at Christmas
Last and by no means least on our Christmas route map countdown, we’re taking a look at what one of the greatest (THE greatest?) city on earth does to shine extra bright during the festive season.
Yes, LONDON. Always spectacular, always memory making and ever changing. Blue Islands flies into its beating heart at London City Airport everyday apart from Saturday. Within minutes you can be taking the DLR to the sights – certainly it’s a faster and cheaper way to the city centre than flying to a periphery airport and then paying an expensive train fare.
So, what does this already exuberant place do during the most glittering month of the year? Things, like this:
Bling bling – the Oxford Street Christmas Lights. Now, everyone can agree fairy lights make anywhere seem better, and for the 58th year of decorating the street, some 750,000 LED bulbs stretched across the 1,778 decorations installed. Look up, say “ahhh”, and then prepare to switch into shopping mode – but don’t forget to keep one hand ready on the camera to snap away at the festive window displays. This year’s Selfridges’ one is particularly good, and took a remarkable amount of effort – a 100 strong in-house team working flat out on rotated shifts for eight days to make it – so at the very least stop and smile.
Ice skating – the hallmark of every great Christmas destination. And London is no exception. Even better, London has them at its world famous destinations – making the already unmissable an absolute crime not to turn up to. Perhaps the most enchanting and wondrous is the Natural History Museum – with its gorgeous building as a backdrop and a gigantic Christmas tree in the middle. An indoor café and balcony is open to those who don’t want to face the cold, and this year Hotel Chocolat will be serving hot chocolates for those who have ventured outside a chance to warm up.
Then there’s Canary Wharf’s, which is a mammoth 80 metres long (and 1,300 square metres, fact fans) – more than enough room to park Santa’s sleigh a few times over. And, it’s just a snowball’s throw from London City. It’s fully covered too, so no matter what the weather hurls at it, you’ll be fine. Now, if you don’t fancy getting caught in the melee of the main ice rink, there is what the organisers refer to as a “serene skate path”, which you can follow and enjoy beneath the trees. Open until February, this rink also means you don’t have to rush to enjoy it – and with restaurants, bars and shops surrounding it, it could be a one-stop destination for all your Christmas needs.
Finally, the post pictures and beautiful ice rink – Somerset House. It has all of the above, but the back drop is money can’t buy spectacular. Go, just go.
From old school charm to what is the most on-trend Christmas fashion of 2017: Igloos. Yep, Pingoo’s house has become the must-have for any city hoping to rank high in the Instagram stakes, and London, being London, is no exception. Igloos have been spotted from Manchester to Washington, at rooftop New York bars to the Thames riverbank. Now, to be perfectly clear, any Inuit seeing these would weep and shout until you paid attention, that because the only ice in sight was contained within a G&T means that NO, they aren’t actually igloos. But to the untrained eye, they are. Which is exactly why you need to get to the Coppa Club, which overlooks the Tower of London. Although mostly booked, they do hold spaces for walk ins, and if you get one, it is TOTALLY worth it for the photo and casual conversation mention. Failing that, you could go to the Sliders Curling Club, where, on the 8th floor you’ll find a bunch of igloos, which can be hired for £40 for 90 minutes – including mulled wine on arrival. You read all that and – hopefully – think “great”. But hold onto your Christmas jumpers, because this one is going to blow the bauble out of the decorations box: Winterland (near Wandsworth Bridge) Not to be confused with Winterville (at Clapham Common) or the Winter Wonderland, this place has neon-lit curling lanes, mini-gold, beer-pong, regular ping-pong, fur covered sofas, winter lodges and the all-important igloos. Plus, for the adults, it’s bring your own booze – which means if you have a century’s old mulled wine recipe, you can just stick it in a thermos and let the good times roll.
A short walkthrough of some of the things happening in London this December.
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